Monday, May 22, 2006

Book Group and Baby Shower

Friday, I spent the day, as all my days lately, packing. I attended a funeral in the morning, though, with my grandmom. Brendan did the service & turns out to be very good at funerals (although he explained that Presbyterians don't have funerals, but celebrations of the resurrection). I stopped in the late afternoon to run a couple of errands (including picking up our youngest cat from the vet, where he'd gotten shots, neutering, & all that pleasantness) and to give Pixie a test ride in the car to see if he will need tranquilizers. He will pant, but I think he'll be mostly fine. I chatted with the boys & tidied the kitchen. After they left with their father, I began book group preparations in earnest. I made little sundried tomato toasts with fresh mozzarella & tomato slices, basil leaves, and a drizzle of good olive oil. I made strawberry sandwiches brûlée, too. I set out hummus and mini pitas, sundried tomato dip & crackers, Baci & Lindor truffles. I brought up a bottle of Cuervo & one of margarita mix in case someone wanted to re-enact Midnight Margaritas (from Practical Magic).

Lilith arrived first, with a closely-cropped summer hair-do that looked marvelous and a copy of The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake to read aloud to us. Hyacinth came next, bearing a pot of luscious mashed squash and ginger sauce to ladle over it. She also brought aloe to put on the rosacea that is plaguing me (I am trying burdock internally, as well). Such wonderful friends! I hate to be moving away. I know we will stay in touch, but it's not the same. I hope they will come to visit. I hope Evvi comes & Rosemary & all my dear girlfriends, but I know it's hard to make time & money for trips like that.

We had a fun book group & the best part of all was when J arrived from Cleveland for the weekend. She was in plenty of time to visit & eat & get the angel food cake book read to her, too. It's a great book, a children's picture book about a little girl who wants to make a special birthday cake for her mom & ends up with some pretty amazing visitors in the kitchen! It's by Nancy Willard & I must get my own copy!

In the morning, we quick got up & went to shop for a gift for my cousin's bambino, who is due near my birthday. We found a cute little outfit with bugs on it, a soft, soft blanket with satin edges & an elephant rattle attached, and a copy of Where The Wild Things Are (one of my very favorite children's books ever, ever, ever) to go along with the Leap Pad contraption we bought from the registry just so the baby could have early & frequent exposure to Maurice Sendak.

We met my grandmom at the house & piled into my car to go to Nola's shower. Her friend Ann, who gave the shower, has such a neat house. Her family room has a beach theme & she glued starfish to the swag holders, then draped a length of buttery yellow cheesecloth over them as a swag. Really nice & I may copy it in the new apartment, if I can talk J into it. The shower was a great time, lots of visiting & no shower games. Good food & good company, the best things! Ann made a wonderful organic 7-layer dip with lots of avocado. That was my favorite thing to eat. Nola's mom (who is really cool) made some great iced tea, too. After the shower & the visit with Ann's 3 boxers, we caravaned over to see John & Nola's new house. They bought a concrete block 1-story & John (and his crew) totally redid the inside & added a second story. It is almost finished & is going to be gorgeous! Their island in the kitchen is less an island than a continent. They have a porch/room running the length of the house downstairs & a gallery living space above it with walls of windows looking out over the woods & stream (there was a green frog down by the spring house). And their master bath! I am envious! It's huge, probably the size of our bedroom in the new apartment. And it has a corner tub with jacuzzi jets! Drool! I am thrilled for them. Nola deserves to have her dream house, after all the moving around she's had to do in the last several years!

We picked up my granddad & all four went to dinner at Applebee's. We had a good visit over dinner, then they picked up their car from our house & we fell into bed! In the morning, we lazed in bed for quite awhile. Then, we had an amazing brunch at The Winds. We shared a rhubarb pecan scone, then I had a Nueske's bacon, white cheddar & chive omelet. J had buckwheat crêpes with Gruyère and some kind of fabulous lemony sauce, served with bright green asparagus and sunshine yellow scrambled eggs. After brunch, we poked around town for a few minutes, checking out the stained glass & visiting with a one-eyed tomcat.

Then, we met our realtor to go over a few things. She brought us cookies she had just baked. J adored them. Our realtor said she was nervous bringing cookies to a food critic. Isn't that silly? We got the paperwork all signed, then went home & got back in bed. Finally, we decided she'd better get going sooner rather than later. We loaded her car & met at Dino's for a farewell coffee. Well, she had an iced vanilla latté and I tried Dino's special iced tea blend, which was spicy & sweet. We sat on a bench by Ohio Silver enjoying our drinks, the sun, and one another. However, the road to Cleveland called and we had to part. I spent the rest of the day and evening packing, stopping only for a frozen Boston Market chicken pot pie. The boys had already eaten & I didn't feel I had time to drive all the way to Ajanta for my dinner, so that was that.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Spate of Deaths

Okay, so it's really only two, but that seems like a lot! On Tuesday, I had a voice mail from a friend at church that her mom had died. Her mom was in her 90s & until a few weeks ago, had been getting out & about with little trouble, driving herself just fine, thank you very much. She was mentally as clear as anything & was one of the nicest people I know. When I was a little kid, I used to go over to her house & visit. She really liked having me over and I really enjoyed her company. I am sad that she is gone. She was one of the brightest spots at church, a genuinely good person. We used to join her & her siblings for lunches at Young's Dairy every so often & felt like part of the family. The viewing is tonight and the funeral is tomorrow.

Even more of a surprise was the news of the death of an old friend from doing theater when I was a teenager. She was a neat lady, a professional psychic, very active in theater and P-FLAG. We met on the set of Mary Roberts Rinehart's "The Bat", the first community theater show I was cast in. I also met my dear friend, Rachel, doing that show. She was the costumer. Terri loved people and welcomed me into her life readily. Although she was considerably older than me when we met (I was 14, she must have been in her 50s), I visited with her often. We maintained ties through all my moves & J & I last saw her in February. We got mini psychic readings from her, J's spookily accurate, and bought a rainbow flag from her daughter's store. She seemed in good health, so I was really surprised when I got the call last night.

On a more upbeat note, I have been spending much of my time packing, of course. I am a little behind, but have hope of getting caught up without pulling all-nighters. I did take the time yesterday to go to lunch with the grands. Next week is our last chance for our regular Wednesday lunch date, so I wanted to take advantage of being able to do that. I have really missed our Wednesday lunches since I started seminary. I thought they had arrived when the doorbell rang yesterday, but when I got to the bottom of the stairs, I saw a round, bearded man holding a basket of flowers. J is such a romantic! There were pink lilies and carnations, purplish daisies, and the most exquisite buttery-yellow stock in the basket, along with a note saying simply, "Miss you." I miss her, too, so much I can hardly stand it. I don't know how I'm going to commute to seminary next year, taking me away from her 3 days a week. I keep telling myself that we're not actually missing 3 days because she would just be at work for most of that time. But, I will dearly miss having dinner with her, being together in the evenings, and sleeping curled up together like kittens.

When my grands arrived, there was no doorbell. Instead, I heard my grandmom's dear, familiar voice calling out a greeting. We meant to have lunch at Bob Evans, but it was so crowded that we chose to go out for Chinese instead. I told them all about the move progress and the new place, they told me all about my aunt Jeanie's graduation & my cousin Leah's prom up in Vermont. My granddad will, of course, be at Hamvention over the weekend. But, my grandmom & I made plans to go to Nola's shower together. I talked to John the other day & he said people will probably come back to their new home to see it. That means he's under the gun to get all the construction work finished before then!

After lunch, there was more packing and a great deal of kitten scolding. He thinks the flowers are a delicious snack provided just for him. Also, that curtains are for climbing. He is so darling that I can't stay aggravated with him, though. Pixie sure can. He gives him the most baleful stares. Jealous boy! Pix spent most of dinner putting his paw on my leg begging for spaghetti. When I offered him some afterward, he was no longer interested.

Monday, May 15, 2006


The rain & chill are dreary. I had to turn the heat back on today when I noticed that it had dropped to 60 degrees inside the house. Being here without J is dreary. The house, while a lovely house, no longer feels like home with her already at the new place. Packing is certainly dreary.

Luckily, there are purry orange kittens and e-mails from my almost-grandma to perk things up. I spent the morning, after I got an excited Pie off to school camp, running errands. Once home, I succumbed to the extreme sleepiness I was feeling & napped for about 45 minutes, snugged in under the covers with my o favorite of cats curled up on my feet. I finished Good In Bed. Jennifer Weiner is such a good writer. I started re-reading Practical Magic tonight...hard to get the images from the movie out of my head. Sandra Bullock made such a good Sally and Nicole Kidman was perfect for Gillian and who else could have played the aunts but Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest? I hope the other Uppitys love it!

The time between napping and reading in front of Food Network was spent packing. Packing, packing, endless packing. I am going to run out of boxes soon and the bookstores never have any boxes for me when I pop by. Banana boxes are useless for most of what I have. But, I was able to get quite a bit done, as I spent the afternoon with tape, scissors, Magic Marker, newspaper, boxes...and Paula, Ina, Giada, and Rachel. LOL! I think I want to be Ina Garten when I grow up, but without the husband. I'll take J, thank you very much! I do find it amusing that my big celeb crushes are on Ina Garten & Stockard Channing. I think they are simply gorgeous, though. I took a break from packing to take Boot to dinner at The Golden Jersey Inn. Comfort food was enjoyed by all. You just can hardly beat a roast beef hot shot on a chilly evening like this...and their applesauce and sweet potato bread are superb. Although, Rachel Ray's comfort meal of black bean stewp, Southwestern Monte Cristos, and margarita slush looked pretty dang good!

So, I should sleep so that I can renew the packing effort in the morning. Ugh! I will be very happy to be moved!

The Apartment tiny! But, very nice. I think that, for a short while, it will work out very well. If the rooms were just a smidge bigger, I would like it better, since we have been accustomed to 3200 square feet and almost an acre yard. Once it warms up, the pool will be a great asset. J has great plans for grilling out by the pool this summer. The location is great, too, right around the corner from a mall, movie theater, cool restaurants, a farmer's market, and good coffee. It will be fun to show our friends around when they come visit.

After the boys got home from school on Friday, we corralled the cats & headed up. That sounds so simple when I write it, but it wasn't! Storm didn't want to get into her box & did the protesting arms & legs thing. But, every time she got free, she just sat by us instead of running away. Lutley was a little more savvy & started running around the house, away from the scene of terror. Fred looked at us like, "What are you doing to them???" and Pixie meowed at us, telling us to knock it off, I imagine, or checking on Storm's well-being. Finally, Pie and I chased Lutley up the basement steps right into Boot's hands. His football experience must have helped, because he was able to nab that slippery little Persian boy! We loaded the pink carriers into the car, assured the other two that all was well, and hit the road for Cleveland.

It turned out to be a long trip, since the hideous stench of cat poop arose from Storm's cage before we even got out of our town! Things got worse. Boot slept through the worst part, which was Storm panting & foaming at the mouth for a good chunk of time. That was really scary. She drooled, then threw up & then emitted spit that looked like soap bubbles for a long time. Of course, by the time we stopped at a truck stop, she was soaking wet from having to lie in her spit-up. I felt absolutely terrible for inflicting the car ride on her. I think I will get some kind of kitty Valium for the next round of cat transport. I was able to clean her up a little when we stopped. She did fine for the rest of the trip, luckily. But, she was an utter mess by the time we reached the apartment. J took her into our bathroom & bathed her, after which Storm walked around shaking her feet & sniffing everything. Lutley, who did just fine in the car (aside from turning his head upside-down, like an owl turns its head backwards, & looking at me with huge blue eyes and open mouth revealing tiny pink tongue), was terrified of the apartment. He ended up spending the first half of the weekend either in my arms, in the boys' closet or behind the dryer. He was in fine spirits, though, and sitting in the windows by the time we left last night.

We arrived about 8:30. Pie was thrilled that we live in an apartment complex "with its own sign!!!" They were both thrilled with the apartment & could barely contain their excitement. I was just excited to see J after a 5-day separation! The stairs to the apartment are VERY long & steep...I dread hauling groceries up them & imagine guests having to stop for breath when coming in! We checked out the apartment, then went over to the mall to check it out.

Pie was excited that there is a giant chess board. He was just thrilled with the whole place & kept exclaiming over everything, saying "I can't believe this place has a _____!" Boot was sleepy & hungry & irritable. We tried a fancy seafood place that we'd noticed. J & Pie split an order of crab legs that they loved, Boot had a cheeseburger which he hated, and I had bland grilled tilapia with bland garlic mashed potatoes and some kind of shredded veggies. It was close to closing time and the service was atrocious. The food was okay, but not great. I was pissed. Unless they drop the prices to reflect the drop in quality, restaurants owe the same kind of treatment to the last customers as they do to the peak hour diners and early birds. It wasn't crowded and there was no reason, aside from the cooks and servers wanting to get out of there, for it to be such a bad experience. I kept thinking how lucky they were that I was not reviewing the place. However, should any of you ever consider Blake's Seafood, I will say that it gets a no-star review. Mediocre food, a long wait for it to arrive, two different stories on why we got no bread for ages (did it have water accidentally poured on it or did it sit so long that it dried out??? We'll never know), cold soup, outrageous prices, stupid and annoying servers, being seated at a bad table when there were all kinds of decent ones open...ugh! I did something I never, ever do. I tipped the irritating and crappy server only 10%. After we left, I regretted leaving any tip at all and regretted not speaking to the manager (although, he seemed as unconcerned with quality as the rest of them) about it. For a meal that costs almost $100, I expect a hell of a lot better.

We had a much better experience at Bob Evans Saturday morning. After breakfast, we did some more exploring. First we toured J's new plant, which smelled like chili powder, then the mall. Boot was surly & unpleasant because he didn't find anything he liked at Dick's or PacSun and because we went into stores we were interested in (like Z Gallerie), rather than just stores he was interested in. He was really aggravated at us for taking a brief walk around the farmer's market...good thing we didn't check out Trader Joe's. That would have put him over the edge. Pie just remained glued to his GameBoy. Buying Boot a cartoon DVD improved his mood and Pie was thrilled with his graphic novel. He is an interesting little kid. He picked an Orson Scott Card story. Maybe I can get him interested in Neil Gaiman, too. I got magazines: Ohio, Cleveland, and Girlfriends' Getaways. J got two CDs (Ani DiFranco and Lucinda Williams) to tide her over until we arrive with the rest of the music and got a Laurell Hamilton novel to keep the loneliness at bay. We took Pie to EB Games, where he spent his allowance on 2 used GameBoy games. Boot got pizza next door. We got groceries & did some Mother's Day shopping with the boys, then went back to the apartment.

After a rest, we tried to cajole the kids into coming to dinner with us, but they were having none of it. Rather than having fast food ourselves or dragging the boys out with us, we came to a compromise. They got to have Wendy's (Boot loves the club Frescata) and McDonald's (Pie is wild for Big Macs) brought to them in the apartment. We locked them safely in & went to the Winking Lizard for our dinner, which was fabulous. It's nice that they're old enough not to have to be dragged out with us all the time. They were thrilled at getting to stay in. As soon as we walked into the Winking Lizard, we could tell it was a good choice. It had really good energy, a wall of windows, and a huge iguana in a glass enclosure. We each ordered a drink (I was amazed because J usually only has beer if she drinks alcohol) and they were great! I had an icy-cold Sex on the Dryer martini (raspberry Smirnoff, Chambord, sweet and sour mix, and cranberry juice) and J had a Sex with the Captain (Captain Morgan, amaretto, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice, if I remember correctly). The spinach and artichoke dip was the best I've ever had and was plentiful. I had terrific ribs and J had a huge and delicious buffalo chicken salad.

In the morning, we headed down to the pool, even though it was clearly way too cold for swimming. There was a mallard swimming in the pool, but it was too cold even for our crazy kids. So, we tried the hot tub, which turned out to be 110 degrees!!! After our very brief soak, we headed back to the apartment & got ready for brunch. My aunt & uncle hosted a Mother's Day brunch at their house. Her sister & nieces (who are 11 & almost 9) were already there. Her folks came, too, bearing pretty little plants for all the ladies. We chose an ivy and another hard-to-kill plant. I picked the ivy knowing that I have kept ivy alive before! The food was fabulous and the kids loved playing with the dogs. Anne made a lovely frittata, a Florentine egg casserole, hash brown casserole, blueberry coffee cake, & apple muffins. Jazzbo grilled up a bunch of handmade sausage, much of it chicken. My favorite was the rice pilaf sausage, while J loved the black bean salsa sausage. For dessert, there was pound cake with berries and real whipped cream. I ate too much! We have such a good time visiting with them. I am so glad we will be living near them!

After brunch, we opened our Mother's Day gifts. Pie gave J an amber glass earring & bracelet set, while Boot chose a DVD of Stand By Me for her. Pie gave me a gorgeous necklace, a marcasite circle around a mother of pearl disk. Boot chose earrings to go with that. We found the (fabulous and huge) public library, which I should be able to bike to. Then, we took the bitties to the Winking Lizard for dinner. Pie had a 1/2 pound cheeseburger, Boot ate half his steak and cheese sandwich (why only half, I was to discover later), J had a swiss burger, and I had a delightfully juicy buffalo chicken sandwich. Again, great service and a great feel. After dinner, we said our reluctant goodbyes. Then, the kids and I hit the rainy highway for home. But, it doesn't feel like home anymore, just a place I am anxious to be free of. Truly, where J is...that's home. And she's not here anymore. It's a lovely, wonderful house and I can't wait to be out of it and with my baby.

We had a nice trip back, though, despite the rain. We listened to much of Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel, which is really funny. Pie loves it. Zombies pining after brains and Ikea, what's not to love? We stopped at a Goasis and the reason for Boot's delicate appetite at dinner was revealed...he'd been saving himself for Popeye's chicken! Pie and I had ice cream sandwiches and I indulged in a Starbucks caramel macchiato. Once home, I tucked the boys in, made sure we were all set for Pie's school camp trip & then hit the hay myself. Today, it's back to the unpleasant reality of packing. It feels endless!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wrapping Up

Yesterday was a day for wrapping things up down here. I am ready to be done here & go...probably mostly since I am so sick of packing & dread getting the house ready for sale. I am going to miss my friends here dreadfully, but I know that I will still be able to see them sometimes & will be in touch with them from Cleveland. I had lunch at Chipotle with Dave, my mentor from the UCC Church, & officially ended my internship (only a couple weeks early despite the move) over burritos in the sun. I really am going to miss that church, but I have every intention of staying connected. Dave had some recommendations for me regarding UCCs to look into once we hit Cleveland. He says that Liberation is Open & Affirming, meaning that they welcome straight folks. That might not work for me...I'd like more diversity, not only gay folks. I keep hearing Pilgrim mentioned, too, but it's IN Cleveland. Might be more of a drive than J wants. We'll be church shopping over the summer. Dave can't understand why I've stayed with the Presbyterians so long, while Brendan is urging me to attend a More Light Presbyterian church. There are 7 in the area, but I don't suppose I can straddle that fence anymore, not since I am going to be a pastor. I wish non-denominational wasn't generally code for ultra-conservative, gay-bashing. My views are so wide-open that sometimes I think I should be a Unitarian. But, the UU fellowships I have been to haven't felt particularly spiritual to me, but rather more intellectual than anything. And the pagan/goddess groups I've hung out with have tended to Christian-bash. Oy vey!

After lunch, I was headed for more errands when I got a call on my cell phone from the elementary school nurse. She thanked me for answering (does she have parents who duck her calls?) & explained that Pie wasn't feeling well, was very pale & running a fever. I immediately turned around & went back to get him. When I walked in, he was very pale indeed. He was sound asleep on the cot, drooling up a storm. He looks so fragile when he sleeps. He was hot & hard to wake, but I got him awake enough to get him home & tucked in bed with some acetominaphen in him.

Later in the afternoon, I ran errands, leaving Pie in the care of his brother, both of them napping & looking adorable. I signed my will, picked up J's "integrity" poster from her old HR manager in The Land of No Integrity, and got mirror boxes from the moving company. For $20 for 3 boxes, I am thrilled to pieces that I am getting most boxes from bookstores & groceries!!! What a rip-off! Once home, I worked on sorting out the contents of our cedar chest, mostly magazines and papers.

I made sausage & egg cups (in a muffin little breakfast casseroles), toast, & applesauce for dinner. Pie took 3 bites of applesauce & promptly went out in the back yard, starkers, to puke. Poor kid. I gave him more Tylenol & put him in the tub that Boot ran for him. He loved that & went to bed right afterward, with a bucket. No more throwing up, though. I'm not sure if they both had a virus or if they've both worn themselves out, but they are in good shape today. Pie woke up with a headache, but no fever or any other symptoms. I kept him home from school due to the 24-hour fever-free rule, but he is much better. Yay! I feel so terrible for them when they're sick. He had another bubble bath this morning, right after his bananas & oatmeal. He adores baths like I do. When he was in the tub this morning, he said to me, "You know, Daria, I love you as much as my dad, my mom, and Brother." I told him I love him so, so much & think he's fantastic. I said that I feel very privileged to be part of his life. Boot is less openly affectionate, but he has been really pleasant lately & helpful. Last night, he said he likes only having one pair of eyes watching them. He said, "Your consequences may be hard, but you can't see EVERYthing." I said, "And half the stuff I do see, I choose to ignore." He said he was glad. I figure that if they are not doing any harm, I can let small things slide. Gotta pick my battles!

I have spent the (very rainy) day packing up everything in the dining room. I made a room-by-room plan for myself & hope to have the DR totally ready to move by bedtime. Too bad many of the dishes have to go in storage. I can always bring them to the apartment if we end up having room for them. I am so thankful we have movers coming & I don't have to figure out how to move the hutch!!! That last move without movers, when it was me, my mom, and a U-Haul, was quite enough for me. I know she's glad she doesn't have to help with a move like that again, too! She has been so good to me, helping me through all kinds of crap. I wish everyone had such a loving & wise mom.

I wish everyone had a partner like J, too. I love getting calls from her. I got a letter today, too. She sounds so energized by her new job. It is incredibly heartening. I feel like I am getting everything I've been wishing for. Yes, the change is difficult in plenty of ways (I was looking at private insurance packages last night...UGH!), but I feel it's just what we need. Cleveland is going to be a good place for us. Not only the job, but being close to Jazzbo & Anne. Anne has invited us to a Mother's Day brunch she's doing Sunday. That will be fun! Her mom & sister are coming, too, along with her sister's girls. So, the boys won't be the only kids. Also, J said the pool is open, so we're taking our suits for the weekend! Have to remember to make sure our housesitter has a key before we leave!!!

I should get back to packing & make some cheeseburgers for Boot's choice dinner tonight!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Air Force Museum & Ice Cream

Today, after getting the kids off to school (and nearly having a panic attack when I couldn't reach J...she was eating breakfast with my aunt & uncle & her cell was in the bedroom...silly me), I took the opportunity to have a cat morning. I have been going & going & I spent the morning in bed reading Jennifer Weiner & napping with Pixie. I really needed that, I think.

I ate leftover Indian food for my brunch while I made out my grocery list. I mailed a letter to J & got groceries, then came home & got ready for our outing. Brendan had asked if the boys & I would like to go to the Air Force Museum with him. Not my favorite place, but J thought the kids would love it & so plans were made. Boot, who is coming down with a cold, begged off because he had a pile of homework & felt tired. So, Pie & I dropped off his friend at home & headed out. We actually had a good time. Brendan turns out to be terribly knowledgeable about WWII-era planes. We only had time to go through that one hangar. Seeing Bock's Car gives me the shivers every time. I hate that plane! Brendan kept apologizing for boring us, but we were enjoying it. After we finished our tour, Pie asked him if he could come over & play video games. I think there is just something so sweet about an 11 y.o. boy asking his pastor to come play video games. The thing is, I think that if Brendan had not had dinner plans with Laura, he would have played with Pie. He is so nice to the kids. I told Pie that maybe Brendan & Laura would come visit us in Cleveland & they could play video games then. Brendan & Pie both seemed to think it was a good idea.

On the way home, Pie & I stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream. He got a cookie dough blizzard & I had a small hot fudge sundae. We sat outside & talked as we ate our ice cream. At one point, he asked me if the new apartment would have room service. I had to tell him no. How about maids? Again, no. Well, does the pool cost any money? Yay! A question I could answer with a no & have that be a good answer for him! He said, "I thought our new apartment sounded like a hotel." It does, but sadly, with no maid or room service. I'd happily plunk my butt in the hot tub right now! I feel achy & chilled. That is going to be a wonderful amenity!

Once home, I cleaned the free stuff out of the yard, took out trash (with an assist from the boys), and fixed dinner. I was disappointed with the pasta salad. It turned out to be quite bland. It was dressed with olive oil and herb vinegar and studded with asparagus, grape tomatoes, and garlic zucchini. But, it just didn't do it for me. The hot dog sauce was much better. But, the mandarin oranges tasted like some kind of cleaning fluid. Yuck! I should have gotten peaches instead.

J called during dinner. She is very pleased with her new job, says it's a very exciting place & it will be great. She was taken to lunch at a golf club & to dinner at Max & Erma's & the people there seem to really like her. Just after dinner, I got a worried call from Jazzbo, who was wondering where J was. Unaware of how late she tends to work, I guess they had expected her home from work long before 8:30. I hope she doesn't get back into the habit of extremely long hours. I know she'll need to be there a lot at first, but she shouldn't set a bad precedent for 14 hour days. I am supposed to call her at 5 just in case her travel alarm doesn't work. She wants to be in at 6 because they have an audit & she wants to make sure everything is top-notch for it.

I have gotten the kiddos to bed (on time, even!) and now am going to do some work editing my prof's book.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Moving My Wife to Cleveland

Things have been absolutely frantic lately. J has accepted a job in the Cleveland area, so we have been madly sorting things for a yard sale and for moving purposes. Since we are moving from a 3200 square foot house to an apartment that is approximately 1200 square feet (but with heated pool & hot tub, so it will feel like living at Disney), we will have to put a bunch of things in storage. We finally got through most of the things that we thought we might like to sell and held an enormous yard sale Thursday, Friday, & Saturday. It went quite well and we got to chat with some interesting people. Our Christmas tree is going to be a shelter from the sun for baby chickens, J's "What Would Xena Do?" bumper sticker promptly went on the back of a sweet little guy's station wagon, and my sombrero got to go to a Cinco de Mayo party.

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo in a different way. Well, we did get lunch from our favorite Mexican place, where a bunch of teachers were sitting around drinking margaritas. I bet they need them this time of year! But, we also had our last hurrah dinner at The Winds. Of course, we'll be back, but it was the last time to eat there before J headed up to Cleveland. We first went shopping for some work clothes for her, hitting Kohl's and the mall. Then, we had a late dinner. We had one of our favorite waitresses, Mercedes. For our appetizer, we had the cheese service and some fabulous fried baby artichokes with remoulade. I wish I could remember which cheeses were on the plate...I know they had an Ibores. We shared Beef River Grill, a gorgeous cut rubbed with thyme, cracked pepper, & sea salt before grilling. It was served with garlic gnocchi and arugula drenched in a tangy lemon dressing. Dessert was also shared, vanilla crème brûlée. I like it better in a shallow dish with a higher crust to custard ratio, but this was pretty damn good.

We arose reluctantly Saturday morning to continue the sale. Why, oh why did we start it at 8 on a Saturday morning? No one was up yet! After about an hour, though, people started to trickle in. We'd had visits from our pastor & a couple book group friends earlier in the week. Saturday, Hyacinth came by with roasted edamame for us to snack on & lots of help with moving things once the sale was over. She has such good energy! I talked more with her about my idea to have the book group visit Cleveland quarterly for a getaway weekend. I think it would be really fun! I'd love for us all to rent a beach cottage or mountain cabin (with hot tub) once a year, too. Our next meeting is May 19 & we're reading Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, which will require margaritas. Rosemary came by with the baby, too. He is darling & wanted to come to me. Of course, J stole him from me just after I got hold of him, but he did want to come to me. I hate leaving all of our friends here. I feel like crying when I think of missing Garnet's & Robert's growing up. What fabulous babies my friends have! Of course, it makes sense considering their parents.

After the sale was over & we had arranged the leftovers attractively for Freecyclers, we hit the road for Cleveland. We stopped on the way for dinner at Applebee's & arrived at Jazzbo & Anne's about 8:30, to be greeted by two very happy golden retrievers. Leo & Star were a wonderful greeting committee, all wagging tails and cheerful panting. Their other niece, Katya, was staying overnight & hung out listening to us talk. She is darling, about to be 9. I wonder what my relationship is to her. She is the daughter of Anne's sister & Anne married my uncle when I was 13. Probably no relation, but they are Uncle Jazzbo & Aunt Anne to her, too. Funny. After a great deal of ball-throwing (Leo catches 2 in his mouth at once) and tug of warring (Star's favorite game), we all went to bed. Their guest room is so welcoming and I slept very well. J is nervous about her new job, so she was awake more. I know she'll do wonderfully, though.

This morning, we had Jazzbo's fruit salad with our cereal & coffee. Then, we ventured out to find the way to J's new plant. There were geese & fuzzy yellow goslings crossing the street in her business park. We also went to Target for shampoo and socks and the like. J found me a new coupon organizer, which seems like a silly thing to be thrilled about, but I am. We had a snack (cheeseburger con queso...seems like a redundant name to me...with chips) & drinks (Bud Light for J, chocolate malt for me) at Red Robin, then hit Kohl's, where I found some cute summer clothes & J got khakis for work.

Once back at Jazzbo & Anne's, we played with the dogs & talked to Anne, then played with the dogs & watched Queen Latifah on Food Network with Jazzbo. Anne made an early dinner (chicken casserole and a delightful salad brimming with all kinds of veggies like cauliflower and carrots) since I had to get home to the kids. After we ate, I hit the road. Being apart from J until we move up there is going to be hard. I am finding myself staying up ridiculously late to avoid going to bed without her. I will have to drag the cat to bed with me. He won't mind a bit, I imagine. I am so glad we will at least see each other on weekends between now & the end of the month. But, we can't be moved in with her soon enough to suit me. Thank God for telephones! I am sincerely dreading being down here midweek all through the school year. Why can't there be a UCC seminary in Cleveland??? The national headquarters are there!